Sep 29 2017 Posted: 16:31 IST

NUI Galway Professor discusses life on Earth, alien existence, and the vast Universe in his new book ‘Life through Time and Space’

Wallace Arthur, an NUI Galway Emeritus Professor of Zoology and Visiting Scientist at the Kielder Observatory in Northumberland, will launch his new book, Life through Time and Space next Tuesday, 3 October.

Life through Time and Space brings together the latest discoveries in both biology and astronomy to examine our deepest questions about where we came from, where we are going, and whether we are alone in the cosmos. It also considers if intelligent aliens exist on a distant planet in the Milky Way, having similar evolutionary and developmental origins to life on Earth. In addressing this issue, Life through Time and Space tackles the many riddles of our place and fate in the universe that have intrigued human beings since they first gazed in wonder at the night time sky.

A distinctive voice in the growing field of astrobiology, Professor Wallace Arthur combines embryological, evolutionary, and cosmological perspec­tives to tell the story of life on Earth and its potential to exist else­where in the universe. In this novel combination of biology and astronomy, Arthur provides detailed insights into the evolution of higher forms of life and the development of brains and intelligence.

Speaking about his new book, Professor Wallace Arthur said:“This is a fascinating time to be alive. Our past speculations about the existence of planets and life beyond our own solar system are fast being replaced by facts, many of which are described in this book. Three years ago we found the first near-twin to Earth. We don’t yet know if it has life, but we have begun to analyse exoplanet atmospheres, and this may yield the evidence we seek. If life is indeed found soon, as seems likely, it will be one of the most significant discoveries in the history of humanity.”

Along the way, readers can learn about the evolution of life from a primordial soup of organic molecules to complex plants and animals, about Earth’s geological transformation from barren rock to diverse ecosystems, and about human development from embryo to infant to adult. Professor Arthur looks closely at the history of mass extinctions and the prospects for humanity’s future on our precious planet.

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